Publication Name
TAU-INFO
Vol. 15 - No. 3 - September

Period
September

 


Year
2003

Volume
15

 


Number
3

Praise to you, my Lord,

Through Sister Water,

so useful, lowly, Precious and pure.

 

A reminder

In this year dedicated to "WATER", the Holy Father, in his message for peace, said: "The right to drinking water is one of our basic human rights". As was mentioned in the last issue of Tau-Info, a booklet "Water for Life: In Defence of our 'Sister Water'. How Religious can express reverence and concern for the precious gift of water" has been published in English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish and can be found on the following website, too: www.ofm-jpic.org/agua
Time is running out and we need to do all we can to preserve our Sister Water, "so useful, lowly, precious and pure".

*

A Joint Venture

Associated in Life and Mission


The Franciscan Sisters of Allegany and the Franciscan Catechist Sisters are taking on a joint mission in Peru. For a long time, both congregations were thinking of going to Peru but it was difficult for each of them to assume this role alone. Thus was born the idea of joining forces. Several meetings, reflection, research … and finally a decision was reached: let us go together.

The sisters who will be involved in the project had a preparation together, with a course specifically promoted by the Bishops' Conference of Brazil (CNBB) and the Conference of Religious of Brazil (CRB) for Brazilian missionaries who go to missions ad extra.

Now the sisters will be together for another while - about six months - to know the country, the people, the culture, as the local church always does, and then, together they will choose the place of their mission.!

The project will not only be assumed as a common service, but also a living together in community, thus to be a witness of solidarity and dialogue in a world marked by individualism and selfishness.

We wish to be united as sisters and desire that the Spirit who animated Clare and Francis may be present in the life of our missionaries.

*

Assisi Experience - 2003

The 1st of July 2003 began a fourteen day experience in Assisi. Fourteen of us from eleven countries will not forget this experience.

We have come a little closer to God by following in the footprints of Francis and Clare.
Words such as 'contemplation', 'praise', 'suffering', 'humility', and 'minority' came alive for us as we reflected on the Gospel, the Third Order Regular Rule and the words of Francis and Clare. This was integrated with our visits to the holy places such as San Damiano, Fonte Colombo, Greccio and La Verna. In addition we prayed at the basilicas of Francis, Clare and St. Mary of the Angels.


 

Photo: The group in the cloister of Rivo Torto

Paula Pearce, a member of the Secular Franciscan Order added to our knowledge and prayer with her input. Fr. Michael O'Kane, O.F.M. gave life to our days with beautiful liturgies with the assistance of Sr. Maria Nida Jaya, of the 'Franciscan Handmaids of the Good Shepherd'. Sr. Celine Monteiro, F.M.M. was a gracious hostess and guide. We are looking forward to bringing a similar experience to the people we work with and to our congregations.

The English-speaking group, Assisi Experience - July 2003




 

 

Photo: (left) The Chapter symbol


First General Chapter in the new Millennium of the Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary

"From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace..." (Jn 1:16)
and
„Rejoice, full of grace" (Lk 1:28b)

This was the theme of our 27th General Chapter which we celebrated from April 26 - May 17, 2003 in Rome. 38 Chapter members, Sisters of the General leadership, of the Provincial leadership, (Germany, France, USA, Netherlands, Indonesia) elected delegates from our five Provinces as well as Sisters from our Brazil Region, from Rumania and Malawi/Africa constituted this international gathering.

"Just as Francis called the brothers together for chapter at the Portiuncula to reflect on God's will for the Order, so our General Chapter is a significant opportunity for us to reflect before God on our way of life. In Chapter the overall situation of our Congregation is the focal point of the prayer, discussion and decisions of the chapter members" (Constitutions).

During this time we tried to evaluate our lives according to our evangelical ideal in the light of contemporary needs of the Church and society, considered new and inherited meanings of our Franciscan ideals and the founding purpose of Mother M. Clara Pfänder, discussed reports and elected a new General Council.

The theme mentioned above was a continuation of our Chapter theme six years ago: "I came that they might have Life and have it to the full" (Jn 10:10). The reflections on the Chapter theme and the life situation of our Congregation, the challenges in regard to the future, the inculturated liturgical celebrations and the sisterly encounters on various levels led us to the following Direction Statement:
"Rejoicing as Franciscans in the spirit of Mother M. Clara, and in fullness of grace, we are called ... to live as signs of hope in a broken world. Together we witness to the Gospel. In contemplation and action, we will:

- mutually help each other in our international Congregation;
- grow in our Franciscan spirit and charism at every phase of our life together;
- live as peacemakers, in communion with God, with respect for all people, and care for all creation.

We ask you for your prayerful support while we are trying to implement the direction statement and the decisions of the Chapter. May all be for the glory of God and for the good of God's people.

Sr. M. Carola Thomann

 

CELEBRATION

United with the big Franciscan family, Sr. Gabriella Preda, superior general of the "Istituto Suore Cappuccine di Madre Rubatto" wishes to share with us their joy in celebrating the centenary year of the birth in heaven of their Blessed foundress, beginning on the 6th August and ending in December 2004. "In every country where we are present: Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Peru and Uruguay, we will have celebrations to make known the example of life and holiness of our foundress.
This year we also celebrate the 20th anniversary of her beatification".

*

Change of address

The "Sorelle Francescane del Vangelo" have changed the address of their generalate to:
Via Chiappara al Carmine, 5
I - 90134 Palermo.

The "Istituto Suore Cappuccine di Madre Rubatto" have transferred their generalate house to Rome:
Via U. Aldrovadi, 19
197 Roma


*

Change of leadership

The Franciscan Sisters of Chicago elected Sr. Diane Marie Collins as their General Minister, replacing Sr. M. Francis Clare Radke. The installation of the new general administration took place on the 2nd of August. We wish them God's blessings for the coming years.

*

FRANCISCANS INTERNATIONAL

We know that the IFC- TOR has committed itself "to join with the whole Franciscan family in global service, strengthening Franciscans International as a common instrument of Peace". Sr. Florence Deacon, the Director of the FI office in New York, suggests some ways of participating more actively in FI's mission at the United Nations.
These are a starting point and might stimulate more ideas.

1) Host an interfaith observance on the International Day of Peace held each year on September 21, a UN designated day of ceasefire and non-violence. Ask your municipality to issue a proclamation supporting the day, invite houses of worship and institutions to ring their bells at noon in solidarity, plant a Peace Pole, encourage campus ministers and youth groups to discuss peacemakers' lives and actions, and end with a prayer for courage and a commitment to live lives of non-violence and peace.

2) Periodically various United Nations International Conferences and Summits meet in different parts of the world.
a) FI would welcome working with those interested in giving us feedback/analysis for the Preparatory Committees (PrepComs) by reading the various drafts of the documents and suggesting what issues to pursue, where change is needed, and how policies will affect those who are poor or marginalised. Personal stories are always a powerful addition.
b) FI welcomes Franciscans who are interested in participating in a UN conference as part of our delegation. Participants would have to read the documents in advance, read up on the issue, and participate in e-mail discussions or PrepComs in preparation. (Funding for travel to such conferences is always a question.)
c) Implementation of UN Programs for Action adopted by Conferences always need monitoring at the national level, and often need the help of civil and religious groups to be effective. For example, "The Programme of Action of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance" was agreed to by governments, but there still remains a tremendous amount of work to be done at the local level to overcome racism. Franciscans are needed at the local and national levels to help implement programmes as well as to call their governments to accountability.

3) UN Commissions and Committees meet regularly to monitor compliance with international treaties and covenants. Interested persons could provide FI with research on some of the topics being addressed or provide testimony as to country specific compliance. This could include writing reports or participating in the meetings. FI follows closely the UN Commission on Human Rights, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission for Social Development, the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Sub Commission on the Protection of Human Rights, and the Treaty Bodies that monitor the promotion and protection of human rights, among others. The commissions tend to focus on different themes each year. Write to the FI offices or check the FI web page for the themes for the upcoming commissions and committees. www.FranciscansInternational.org

4) A congregation or province might like to work on a common UN project such as eliminating trafficking in persons, or using UN themes as a study topic for basic or ongoing formation. Students in graduate programs might like to do research around FI's UN advocacy. Faculty in Franciscan Studies Programmes could suggest research topics related to our foci to formulate a Franciscan response to an issue currently being addressed.

5) There may be times when FI puts out a more formal request for feedback on a certain issue, or asks members to reflect on something through our Franciscan lens. In such a case we count on people at all levels in our network to help facilitate the process - further disseminating the request and channelling the results back to us.

6) Participating in FI's ministry at the UN would be a valuable Sabbatical experience for Franciscan sisters and brothers.
7) Franciscans could encourage students in their colleges or those in formation to volunteer for a semester or year-long internship with FI.
(To be continued)